OLR Research Report

January 2, 2009




By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

You asked for a list of state education mandates on local school districts. This report updates our 2006 report (2006-R-0355) to include mandates adopted, eliminated, or modified in the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions.

The following table lists the state education mandates that apply to local and regional school districts. It excludes mandates that apply only (1) to certain school types of districts, such as priority school districts, or (2) as a condition of receiving a state grant for a particular educational program.

Table 1: Statutory Mandates on Local and Regional School Districts

Statute /

Public Act



Finance educational program at least at minimum expenditure requirement.

In order to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation, provide educational opportunities for students to interact with students and teachers from other racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.


Comply with order of State Board of Education (SBE) to remedy any failure or inability of a school district to implement the educational interest of the state.


Participate in State Department of Education's (SDE) statewide public school information system, including, starting October 1, 2007, by reporting on at least (1) student experiences in preschool by program type and number of months in the program and (2) student readiness for, and progress in, kindergarten.


Administer state mastery tests to students in grades 3-8 and 10.

Certify on students' permanent record and transcript if a student exceeds the mastery goal level on each component of the 10th grade exam.


Maintain schools for 180 days each year. No rescheduled sessions on Saturday or Sunday.


Provide access to students' records by parents or the courts.

Mail school notices to parent or guardian with whom the student does not primarily reside when they mail them to the other parent or guardian.


Open schools to all five-year-olds, without discrimination.


Provide 180 days and 900 hours of school sessions per year.


Provide an opportunity for silent meditation at the beginning of each day for students and teachers who want it.


Provide the prescribed courses of study.

Attest that the instruction is planned, ongoing, and systematic. (The courses of study include arts, career education, consumer education, health and safety, language arts, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies, and, in secondary school, foreign language and vocational education.)

Exempt deaf or hearing impaired student from any foreign language requirement if the student's parent requests it in writing.


Exempt students from participation in family life education on written notice from parents.


Hold graduation ceremonies no earlier than 185th day of originally adopted school calendar (with exceptions).


Hold all classes in English, except for bilingual and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs.

10-17e, f

Annually ascertain the dominant language of district children and provide bilingual education if there are 20 or more children with a single dominant language other than English.

Discontinue bilingual education for students who fail to meet the state's English mastery standard after 30 months in a bilingual education program.


Provide a program of U.S. history and the duties of citizenship.

10-18a, 2008 Supplement

Select textbooks that reflect the achievements of individuals of both sexes, all ethnic backgrounds, and all races.

Provide a program on democracy that allows students to learn about the branches of government in a participatory manner as part of their third, fourth, or fifth grade curriculum.


Exempt students from any firearm safety program the district offers, upon a parent's request, and provide them with an opportunity for study.


Provide alcohol, nicotine, and drug education.

Annually attest to the SBE that all students receive the education.

Provide AIDS education.

Adopt a policy to exempt students from AIDS education upon parental request.

10-20a, 2008 Supplement

Connecticut Career Certificate Program to provide instruction in workplace safety awareness.


Observe Martin Luther King Day, Pan American Day, and other special days on the day designated or on the last school day before the holiday.


Designate a high school in another district if the district does not have its own high school, and pay tuition for students to attend that high school.


Give at least one year's notice of discontinuance of high school service to nonresidents.


If school does not offer vocational-agriculture (vo-ag) training, designate a school that students may attend. Pay tuition and reasonable and necessary costs of transportation to the vo-ag training.

10-65, 2008 Supplement, as amended by PA 08-170

If a school district does not maintain a vo ag center, allow its students to enroll in one or more other districts' center in numbers that are at least equal to (1) the number specified in any written agreement it has with a vo-ag center or (2) if there is no written agreement, the average number of its students enrolled in the center during the three previous school years.

If a district does not maintain a center, also provide enrollment opportunities for 9th graders in each center it designates that are at least equal to (1) the number of 9th graders specified in its written agreement with each center or (2) the average number of 9th graders that enrolled in each designated center or centers over the preceding three years.

If a district provided opportunities for its students to enroll in more than one center in the school year starting July 1, 2007, continue to do so in the numbers required by law.


Pay agreed-upon amount, including extra for special education, to any local charter school in the district that a student from the district attends.

Provide transportation for district students to any charter school located in district.

Hold planning and placement (PPT) meeting for charter school student who lives in district and requires special education, and pay the extra cost for special education services to charter school.


Provide adult education including U.S. citizenship instruction, English for limited English-speaking adults, and elementary and secondary completion programs.

Only provide an adult education diploma upon completion of 20 credits in specified subjects.

Award specified adult education credits for experiential learning, successfully completed courses at state-accredited schools or colleges, successfully passing tests, and independent study.


Provide rooms and other facilities for adult education classes.


Charge no fees for adult education courses the law requires.

10-76b,10-76d, & 46a-150-153, 2008 Supplement

Follow SDE regulations on the use of physical restraints and seclusion on students receiving or awaiting eligibility determinations for special education services in public schools.

Tell pupils, parents, guardians, and others standing in the place of parents about (1) the laws and regulations governing the use of physical restraints and seclusion and (2) related student and parental rights at the first planning and placement team meeting involving the student's individual educational program.

Report to SDE on use of restraint and seclusion.


Identify children who require special education, provide special education, notify parents when children may require special education, maintain records, report annually on the progress of special education children in private institutions, and submit the report to the SBE upon request.

Be financially responsible for resident students receiving special education outside the district.

Be financially responsible for cost of special education for one calendar year for any child placed in the district by a state agency whose home district cannot be identified.

Not require a student to get a prescription drug before he may go to school, be evaluated to determine special education eligibility, or receive special education.


Comply with special education hearing procedures.


Comply with special education audit requirements.


Employ the requisite number of certified and licensed staff to implement each child's individualized education program (IEP).


Include an administrator, not necessarily the principal, in each PPT meeting.


Follow statutory procedures in identifying whether children require special education.


Provide SDE with information on race, ethnicity, and disability category of children requiring special education.


Give teachers access to resources within the district to assist any student not eligible for special education but who has a communicative, motor skills, or physical problem.


Pay tuition and transportation costs for students to attend a school board-designated vo-ag school and transportation costs for students attending a vocational-technical (VT) school.


Employ certified teachers and participate in the beginning educator support and training (BEST) program (the BEST program expires on July 1, 2009 under PA 08-107).

Employ substitutes only if they have bachelor's degrees, unless SDE waives the requirement.


Superintendent or designee must observe, guide, and evaluate the performance of teachers with initial educator certificates.

Make 18 hours of continuing education available to certified employees and attest to SDE that these professional development activities meet statutory standard.


Upon receiving notice from the SDE, notify in writing teachers whose provisional certificates will expire in next 12 months.


Follow specified criteria and procedures for employing and terminating teachers.


Provide copies of personnel records to certified employees upon request.


Evaluate teachers in accordance with a plan developed pursuant to 10-220a (b) (see below).


Obtain consent before releasing teachers' performance records.


Not discriminate on the basis of sex or marital status in the employment or compensation of teachers.


Negotiate with the teachers' union and meet with the town fiscal authority within 30 days of starting negotiations. Permit finance board or board of selectmen member to be present during negotiations.


Not engage in prohibited labor practices regarding collective bargaining.


Participate in mediation and, if negotiations end in impasse, binding arbitration.


Not require that teachers live in the district.


Allow certified employees at least 15 sick days each year and allow them to accumulate at least 150 days.


Guarantee teachers a duty-free lunch, scheduled for a single period of consecutive minutes.


Impose no penalty on military reservists for a military leave.


Reemploy professional employees after military service.


Appoint a superintendent to supervise the schools and serve as school board CEO.


Notify teachers about to be employed of teacher retirement provisions affecting them, and make proper deductions and forward them to state treasurer.

Transmit reports and other supporting information that the Teachers' Retirement Board requires when transmitting monthly teacher retirement contributions.


Allow retired teachers from the district who are not participating in Medicare Part A and B to continue participation in any group health insurance plan the district maintains for active teachers and charge retirees a premium no greater than that charged to active teachers for the same coverage.


Before reemploying a retired teacher, certify to Teachers' Retirement Board that no other qualified candidate is available.

Make temporarily reemployed retirees eligible for active teachers' health plan.


Provide school accommodations, including transportation, for all district students, notify the alleged responsible school board of any child to whom it denies accommodations, and follow hearing procedures for denial.


Furnish employers with certificates of age for minors in certain occupations.


Adopt and implement specific truancy policies for children in grades K-8 and report the number of habitual truants to SDE annually.


Keep schools in a clean and sanitary condition.


Require students to be protected by certain immunizations.


Appoint a school medical advisor if the town's population is 10,000 or more and prescribe the functions and duties to carry out statutory requirements.

10-206, 2008 Supplement

Require students to have health assessments before school enrollment, in grade six or seven, and in grade 9 or 10.

Report each asthma diagnosis to the local health department and the Department of Public Health regardless of whether it is recorded on student health assessment forms.


Provide free health assessments for low-income students.

10-206c, 2008 Supplement

Require all students in their jurisdiction to report whether they have health insurance.

Provide information on state-sponsored health insurance programs for children, and application assistance, to each uninsured student's parent or guardian.


Honor written notice from health practitioners about students' physical restrictions.


Appoint a school nurse.


Adopt written policies and procedures, approved by the school medical officer, if school board allows a school nurse or other authorized personnel to give students medicine or allows a student to self-administer medicine.

Keep records of, and store, controlled substances as required by the commissioner of public health.


Adopt policies prohibiting school personnel, with certain exceptions, from recommending psychotropic drugs for any child.


Implement a plan, based on state guidelines, for managing students with life-threatening allergies enrolled in their schools.


Provide annual vision screenings to pupils in grades one through six and nine; audiometric screenings in grades K through three, five, and eight; and postural screenings in grades five and eight.


Provide the same health services for private school students as for public school students.


Not purchase art materials unless they have requisite warning labels.


Hold board meetings at least once every six months, elect officers, and record minutes for public inspection.


Maintain good public schools.

Implement the educational interests of the state.

Give all children in the district as nearly equal advantages as practical.

Provide adequate instructional materials, equipment, staffing, facilities, and technology.

Allocate resources equitably among schools.

Maintain facilities properly.

Provide a safe school setting.

Make a continuing study of need for school facilities and of a long-term school building program and make recommendations to the town based on the study.

Adopt and implement an indoor air quality program that provides for ongoing maintenance and facility reviews as necessary.

Annually report to the education commissioner on the condition of facilities and actions taken to implement the long-term facility plan and indoor air quality program.

Advise the commissioner on the relationship between individual school building projects for which the town is seeking state assistance and the long-term school building program.

Care for and maintain school facilities and property.

Insure school buildings and property and carry minimum insurance equal to 80% of their replacement cost.

Determine the number, age, and qualifications of the pupils admitted to each school.

Develop and implement a written minority staff recruitment policy.

Employ and dismiss teachers.

Designate the schools each child in the district attends.

Require children from age seven through 15 to attend school and provide reasonable and desirable transportation.

Limit student transportation contracts to no more than 5 years.

Prepare a statement of district educational goals consistent with statewide goals.

Develop student objectives that relate to the goals and identify specific expectations for student knowledge, skills, and competence.

Annually attest to the commissioner that instruction is based on the district's educational goals.

Submit an annual strategic school profile report to the commissioner that includes information on parental involvement.

Before January 1, 2008 and every five years thereafter, provide a uniform inspection and evaluation program of the indoor air quality within schools and make the results public.


Provide in-service training program for teachers and other professional staff.

Develop and implement a professional development plan directly related to the district's goals and that provides for ongoing and systematic assessment and improvement of teacher evaluation and professional development.


Provide full access for recruiting by regional V-T, vo-ag, charter, and interdistrict magnet schools and interdistrict student attendance programs.


Establish a written policy on weighted grading for honors and advanced placement classes.


When a student moves into a district, notify the student's old district in writing. Old district must send student records to new district within 10 business days. If student's parents have not authorized the records transfer, old district must send them a written notice when it transfers the records.

Credit students for all instruction received from Unified School District #1 (Dept. of Corrections) within 30 days of receiving records from USD #1.


Not deny a student access to school transportation service solely because the student must carry a cartridge injector while traveling in a school transportation vehicle.


Not prohibit blood glucose self-testing by children who have a written medical order to do so.


Make rules for the public schools and for the control of school library media centers and approve selection of books and other media for them.

Approve plans for public school buildings.

Develop and implement policies about homework, attendance, promotion, retention, drug use or possession, youth suicide prevention and attempts, and encouraging parental involvement.


Require students to complete the state graduation requirements before graduating.


Provide the same directory information to military as to other recruiters and establish a written, uniform policy for the treatment of all recruiters.


Record and annually report school transportation complaints to the motor vehicles commissioner and report accidents to the commissioner within 10 days.


Require job applicants to undergo a criminal record check, arrange for fingerprinting, and forward prints to the State Police.


Conduct an instructional time and facility usage assessment to maximize student learning and community use of facilities.


Develop and implement a three-year plan, starting September 1, 1999, to improve reading skills of students in grades K-3.


Offer full-day students a daily lunch period lasting at least 20 minutes.

Include a period of physical exercise in the regular school day for each student in grades K-5.


Make nutritious low-fat food available in schools at all times when food is available for students to buy.


Sell only certain healthy beverages to students in schools.


Estimate education costs for the ensuing year and forward to board of finance.

Announce all fund transfers between line items in the education budget at the board's next regularly scheduled meeting.

Not overspend total budget without approval of request for additional funds from the town.


Before hiring any new employee, make a documented good-faith effort to contact previous employers concerning the person's fitness for the job.


Develop a policy to address bullying in schools.

Tell students how to report bullying and require interventions for students who repeatedly bully or are bullied.


If employing athletic coaches, require the coach's immediate supervisor to evaluate coaches annually and provide copies to the coaches.

If the board decides to terminate the contract of a coach who has served in the same position for three or more athletic seasons, inform the coach of the reasons within 90 days after the end of the sport season covered by the contract.


Review and revise promotion and graduation policies to ensure they foster achievement and reduce social promotion.

Specify basic skills needed for graduation, including a process for assessing competency.

Develop a course of study for those who have not passed the assessments.

10-223e, 2008 Supplement

Require schools and districts that require corrective action under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to be subjected to intensified supervision and direction by the SBE. A school district or elementary school that fails to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for two successive years must be evaluated by the education commissioner. Under certain conditions, the commissioner may require the school or district to institute certain educational programs and may ask the legislature to allow another entity to control the district.


Keep a record of all board proceedings and submit an annual report of its activities to the town.

Report returns and statistics of schools, as the education commissioner requests.


Fix salaries and compensation for school attendance officers if the town does not do so.


Annually report the name, place of employment, and salary of the district's certified staff to the education commissioner and report the name and address of a new superintendent within seven days of the position being accepted.


Annually submit data to the SBE to determine the total number of minority students and teachers, and students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches in the district, in each school, and in each grade.


Prepare and submit a racial imbalance plan to the SBE, if notified of racial imbalance.


Report biennially to the regional education service center for the district on programs and activities undertaken to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation in schools.


Annually report on receipts, expenditures, and statistics to the education commissioner.


Provide free texts, supplies, and equipment to students. If loaning assistive devices to public school students, loans must be free.


Not change textbooks without a two-thirds vote of all members of the board.


Provide a flag for each classroom and the grounds of each school and see that it is properly displayed. Develop a policy to ensure that time is available each day in all schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.


Hold a fire drill in the schools at least once a month (boards may substitute a crisis response drill once every three months).

10-231b, 2008 Supplement

Employ only certified pesticide applicators for nonemergency pesticide applications in school or on school grounds. Most schools are barred from using pesticides during school hours or planned activities at the school.

Not apply the pesticides at all starting July 1, 2008 except in emergencies at preschools and elementary schools to schools with students through grade eight.


Schools without integrated pest management (IPM) plan must (1) provide parents and school staff with written statement of pest management policy at beginning of school year, (2) establish registry of those desiring 24 hours advance notice of pesticide use, (3) provide the notice by mail, and (4) keep pesticide application records for five years.


Schools with IPM plans must (1) provide staff written guidelines on how plan is to be implemented and (2) provide parents with written plan summary. Allow parents and staff to register for advance notice of application. Maintain application records for five years.


Ensure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are (1) maintained in accordance with national standards and (2) except for scheduled maintenance or emergency repairs, operated continuously while the school is occupied unless there is demonstrated adequate air exchange without operation. Keep HVAC maintenance records for at least five years.


Not employ board members in the school system.


10-233c, 2008 Supplement, as amended by PA 08-160

Not suspend students from school without an informal hearing.

Give suspended student an opportunity to make up schoolwork and exams.

Include information about the suspension on the student's permanent record.

Erase the suspension from the record if student graduates from high school.

Starting July 1, 2009, require student suspensions to be in-school suspensions unless the school administration determines, at the required informal suspension hearing, that the student (1) poses a danger to persons or property or (2) is so disruptive of the educational process, that an out-of-school suspension is warranted.


Not expel a student without a hearing, and provide an alternative educational opportunity except in specified cases.

Include expulsion on student's educational record.

Erase the expulsion from the record if the student graduates, unless it was for possession of a firearm or deadly weapon.

Complete any expulsion hearing even if student withdraws from school during it and include information on the student's record.

Before conducting an expulsion hearing for a special education student, convene a planning and placement team meeting to determine if the misconduct was caused by the student's disability. If so, PPT must reevaluate student's placement and individualized education program to address the misconduct and ensure safety of other children and school staff.

Submit information to the education commissioner on weapons-related expulsions as required by federal law.


Notify students, parents, and guardians annually of student conduct policies. Adopt effective method of notifying parents and guardians of students who are suspended or expelled within 24 hours of the time the student is excluded from school.


Not place student on in-school suspension without an informal hearing. Not place a student on in-school suspension more than 15 times or a total of 50 days during one school year.


Report student assault of teachers or other school employee to police. Not interfere with teacher's or other employee's right to file a report with police when a student threatens or commits physical violence against an employee.


Maintain reports of arrested students in a secure place.


Not permit students to possess or use remote activated paging devices in school, without written permission from school principal.


Indemnify teachers, board members, employees, and certain volunteers.


Indemnify board members and staff from expenses caused by an assault on them while on duty.


Hold a public hearing on any question specified in a petition that is signed by 1% or 50 electors, whichever is greater. Hearing must be held within three weeks of the board's receiving the petition.


Participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or any other national or international measure of student progress, if designated by the education commissioner.


Publicly disclose the results of accreditation reports within 45 days, and make them available for inspection upon request.


Annually determine the age and number of children of compulsory school age. If any child of school age is not in school, superintendent must make a reasonable effort to find out why. If the child is working, superintendent must make a reasonable effort to find out the name and address of the employer.


File an annual report with commissioner on the number of school-age children.


Be financially responsible for the education costs of district children placed in other districts by state agencies, up to 100% of its average per pupil cost. Excess costs are paid by the state. Provide free schooling to children living in temporary shelters.


Report staff data to Teachers' Retirement Board.


Meet the minimum expenditure requirement.

10-262i, 2008 Supplement, as amended by PA 08-170

For FYs 08 and 09, spend between 15% and 65% of any ECS increases on education, with the exact minimum budget requirement (MBR) percentage determined by each town's relative current education spending, wealth, and student achievement. Low-performing school districts, as determined by three or more years of failure to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) must increase their MBRs by an additional 20 percentage points.


Have state funds withheld for failure to maintain schools according to law.

10-264l, 2008 Supplement

If a school district does not participate in an interdistrict magnet school, for any of its students who enrolls directly in an interdistrict magnet school, pay the per-student tuition, if any, that the magnet school charges to participating districts.


Participate in the school breakfast program on behalf of certain severe need schools, if at least one school is so designated, and submit a statement of expenditures to the SDE.


Pay transportation costs for students to attend an out-of-district high school, if the district does not maintain one.


Provide the same transportation services for students enrolled in nonpublic schools in the district as for public school students, if a majority of the nonpublic school's students are Connecticut residents.


Meet additional criteria to receive a school construction grant for a renovation project.


Meet acoustical standards for state-assisted school building projects.

10-287, 2008 Supplement

Award school construction contracts costing more than $10,000 and receiving state assistance to the lowest responsible bidder.

Award contracts for architectural and construction management services for school construction through competitive bidding.


Sign architectural services contracts for state-assisted school construction projects only if they meet specified standards.

10-291b, 2008 Supplement

For school construction applications for projects to be included on priority lists for 2009 and thereafter, requires any school district applying for a state school construction grant for a new school or a major alteration, extension, renovation, or replacement of a school that involves a school entrance, to include in the project plans security infrastructure for the entrances.


14-276, 31-51x,

14-261b, and


2008 Supplement

If district provides its own school transportation services:

Check reports from Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner on those whose commercial driver's license or passenger endorsement the commissioner has suspended, withdrawn, or revoked at least twice a month and, within 10 days after each check, prohibit from driving any of its school bus or school transportation vehicle (STV) drivers who are not properly licensed.

Extend required random drug testing to those employed to drive STVs that carry 10 or fewer students and stop employing as a driver any school bus or STV driver who tests positive for drugs.


22a-21k, and 22a-21j,

2008 Supplement

Retrofit certain full-size school buses with emissions-reducing equipment by September 1, 2010, as long as the work can be done within grant amounts established.

16a-38k, 2008 Supplement

Apply “green building” requirements to projects authorized by the legislature on or after January 1, 2009 for (1) new school construction costing $5 million or more and (2) school renovations costing $2 million or more.

Require such projects to exceed the current building code energy efficiency standards by at least 20%.

31-51rr, 2008 Supplement

Provide employees who (1) are parties to a civil union and (2) have worked for the political subdivision for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours during the past 12 months, with the same Family and Medical Leave Act benefits that federal law provides to parties to a marriage.

PA 08-57

Follow uniform standards required by the law to facilitate placement, enrollment, graduation, data collection, and other decisions involving children in grades K-12 when they move to other states because their parents are deployed on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services.

PA 08-153

Establish a school district curriculum committee that must recommend, develop, review, and approve all curricula for the district.

If SBE orders for a low-achieving school or district:

Provide additional training and technical assistance for teachers, principals, and central office staff, to also include students' parents or guardians.

Provide training to local and regional boards of education to improve their operational efficiency and effectiveness, and submit annual action plan to the education commissioner outlining procedures for monitoring their effectiveness.

Carry out any SBE directives affecting working conditions in accordance with the Teacher Negotiation Act.

PA 08-160

Implement the bullying policies the board is required to adopt.

If a board does not implement an evidence-based model approach to bullying, requires its teachers to be trained in bullying prevention.

PA 08-169

Submit school project change orders to SDE for cost eligibility review within six months after issuing them.

Follow required process for awarding architectural or construction management service contracts on school projects.

PA 08-170

In FY 10, (1) spend an MBR percentage of from 50% to 80% of any annual ECS increase on education and (2) if the district was in the third year or more of failing, as a district, to make AYP in math or reading, spend at least its new MBR percentage plus 20 percentage points or 80% of its increase, whichever is greater.

PA 08-170

If participating in an interdistrict magnet school, provide annual opportunities for students to attend the school in a number at least equal to (1) the number specified in any written agreement with the school's operator or (2) the average number of students that the participating district enrolled in the magnet school during the previous three school years.

PA 08-184

Require school-based health clinics (SBHC) located in a school built on or after July 1, 2009 where the SBHC shares a first floor exterior wall with the school building to have a separate entrance.